Theories of the Pathology of Nostalgia

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Johannes Hofer, Dissertatio Medica de Nostalgia, oder Heimwehe (1688)

Debates on the precedent causes, diagnostic symptoms, prognosis, and cure to nostalgia varied widely. In his 1688 medical dissertation, Dissertatio Medica de Nostalgia, Johannes Hofer invented the word nostalgia to elucidate mental anguish resulting from a severe form of homesickness. Called Heimweh by the Germans and Maladie du pays by the French, Hofer wrote: “Since it has no medical name, I have called it nostalgia, of Greek origin, from Nostos, return to one’s native land, and Algos, pain or distress.” While the condition has been mentioned in earlier materials, Hofer gave an exact interpretation of nostalgia’s features. Furthermore, Hofer described the abnormality stemmed from the brain and imagination living in the past while the body wastes away.

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William Cullen, 1710-1790

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Francois Boissier de la Croix de Sauvages, 1706-1767

Seeking to form a nosological classification schema on illnesses, François Bossier de le Croix de Sauvages in Nosologia Methodica Sistems Morborum Classes (1768) distinguished between simple nostalgia, categorized by low moods and fever, and complex nostalgia, a violent disease requiring professional attention. William Cullen’s Synopsis and Nosology: Being an Arrangement and Definition of Diseases (1772) and Sauvages’ work included the extreme longing for home in the section Morositates or Delinquencies. In 1782, Thomas Arnold in Observations on the nature, kinds, causes, and prevention of insanity, lunacy, or madness classified the condition as a form of insanity. Affecting the patient’s cerebral sensibility, nostalgia was commonly described as comprised of a form of hysteria, self-imposed isolation, and a loss of desire for earthly pleasures comparable to melancholia.

Earlier theories of nostalgia continued to hold claim well into the eighteenth- and nineteenth- centuries, attributing the disease to environmental factors and temperaments of specific peoples. As a severe and fatal disease, victims of nostalgia were those who missed their homeland to such an extent that they would waste away and die from dangerous homesickness. The Swiss were believed to be more susceptible to homesickness, possibly due to a more sensitive attribute and the characteristics of their mountainous homeland. Enslaved Africans were believed to not be capable of such emotion in North America, but in South America, they were said to suffer a more primitive and uncontrollable form of nostalgia. Specific ethnic groups were supposedly predisposed to severe homesickness, at times worsened by existing maladies and aggravating onset diseases.

When Nostalgia Was a Disease

Cures ranged from sending sufferers home to threatening them with pain and terror—but some treatments contained sound advice.

medical dissertation on nostalgia by johannes hofer

People who like to bring up old Nickelodeon cartoons at parties (you know who you are) should be grateful it's not a few hundred years ago. We'd have license to leech them, bully them, and maybe even bury them alive.

These were some of the treatments proposed for nostalgia during the 17th to 19th centuries, when it was considered a psychopathological disorder--rather than a blanket term for fondness for anything that existed more than thirty minutes ago.

Swiss physician Johannes Hofer coined the term in his 1688 medical dissertation, from the Greek nostos , or homecoming, and algos, or pain. The disease was similar to paranoia, except the sufferer was manic with longing, not perceived persecution, and similar to melancholy, except specific to an object or place.

Though Hofer is credited with naming nostalgia, it existed prior to that. During the Thirty Years War, at least six soldiers were discharged from the Spanish Army of Flanders with el mal de corazón. The disease came to be associated with soldiers, particularly Swiss soldiers, who were reportedly so susceptible to nostalgia when they heard a particular Swiss milking song, Khue-Reyen, that its playing was punishable by death.

Also disposed to nostalgia were children sent to the countryside to nurse (who naturally missed their mothers), young men between 20 and 30, and women who left home to be domestic servants. Autumn was a particularly dangerous season, the falling leaves perhaps reminding marching soldiers of their impermanence and making them wonder why they were spending their limited time on this Earth bloodying their swords in distant lands instead of enjoying the comforts of home and hearth.

Aside from the nostalgia epidemic itself, there was also an outbreak of fake nostalgia among soldiers, who would pretend to miss their friends and family to get out of fighting. But the joke was on them, as "true" nostalgics would just retreat into themselves, without revealing why they were suffering, according to Michael S. Roth's Dying of the Past: Medical Studies of Nostalgia in Nineteenth-Century France .

Apparently, almost anything under the sun could cause nostalgia. A too lenient education, coming from the mountains, unfulfilled ambition, masturbation, eating unusual food, and love ("especially happy love," Roth's paper notes) could all bring on the disease. In the 18th and 19th centuries, some doctors were convinced nostalgia came from a "pathological bone" and searched for it to no avail.

Some of the symptoms victims presented with are fairly logical--melancholy, sure; loss of appetite, okay; suicide, upsetting but understandable. But many other symptoms that were gathered under the umbrella of nostalgia almost certainly had causes other than homesickness--malnutrition, brain inflammation, fever, and cardiac arrests among them. Some of the early symptoms, according to Dr. Albert Van Holler, were hearing voices and seeing ghosts of the people and places you missed, though whether these were hallucinations or just regular old dreams is unclear.

How to treat this primordial sludge of symptoms depends on the situation and, I guess, your perspective. For a little boy who missed his wet nurse, doctors brought her back and then slowly conditioned him to spend time away from her. The soldiers sometimes were treated with less patience. French doctor Jourdan Le Cointe thought nostalgia should be treated by "inciting pain and terror," as Svetlana Boym describes in her book The Future of Nostalgia .

Le Cointe cited the example of the Russian army's outbreak of nostalgia in 1733, on its way to Germany. The general told the troops that the first one to come down the nostalgic virus would be buried alive, and actually made good on his threat a couple times, which nipped that right in the bud.

When nostalgia finally made its way to the United States, after the Civil War, the "scare it out of them" tactic was replaced with "shame it out of them."  American military doctor Theodore Calhoun thought nostalgia was something to be ashamed of, that those who suffered from it were unmanly, idle and weak-willed. He proposed curing it with a healthy dose of public ridicule and bullying. Maybe this is why most people don't feel nostalgic about middle school.

Other dubious cures tried over the years include leeches, purging the stomach, and "warm hypnotic emulsions," whatever that unspeakable horror might be. Doctors did sometimes go with the obvious solution of just letting the patients go home, which more often than not cleared their symptoms right up. But even that wasn't guaranteed to work, if the home they longed for had changed significantly or just no longer existed.

Obviously the prevailing view on nostalgia has changed over the years, to the point where we now actively cultivate it with GIF-laden lists and VH1 specials, and rarely, if ever, die from it. But advice on treatment from French doctor Hippolyte Petit is as relevant to someone clinging to the past today as it was to a soldier driven mad by a milking song hundreds of years ago: "Create new loves for the person suffering from love sickness; find new joys to erase the domination of the old." Or, just let it go.

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Medical dissertation on nostalgia by johannes hofer / translated by carolyn kiser anspach..

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  • Published: December 1954
  • Volume 14 , pages 93–104, ( 1954 )

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Hofer, J.: Medical Dissertation on Nostalgia, 1688. Translated by C. K. Anspach. Bull. Hist. Med., 2: 376–391, 1934.

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Dr. Martin, M. D., Queens University, Ireland, D. P. M. (R. C. P. & S., Eng.), is a practicing psychoanalyst. He is Associate Dean of the American Institute for Psychoanalysis and Chairman of the American Psychiatric Association's Standing Committee on Leisure-Time Activity. This paper was read before the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis at the New York Academy of Medicine, January 28, 1953.

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As an Irishman living in Glasgow for the past 13 years, I'm as guilty as the next man of being nostalgic. First coined in 1678 by Johannes Hofer of Basel, the word nostalgia was derived from nostos (return to one's native land) and algos (pain or distress).1 It was meant “to signify the pain which the sick person feels because he is not in his native land.” Cullen in 1772 classified nostalgia as an abnormality of appetite, alongside bulimia and polydipsia. In England it was considered an illness that principally affected foreigners.

Recognised among the continental armies of the 18th century, it was sometimes referred to as “the Swiss disease.” The first case in English medical literature was recorded in 1787 by a Dr Robert Hamilton, a regimental medical officer stationed at Tinmouth in the north of England.2 The diagnosis of nostalgia and the resultant plea to the commanding officer allowed a young Welsh recruit named Edwards six weeks' leave at home.

It was still a recognised condition during the American civil war: for example, in the first year of conflict alone 5213 cases of nostalgia were recorded among the troops of the northern states.3

By the time of the trench warfare of 1914, nostalgia was no longer a recognised medical condition among the military medical establishment, even if it remained a strong sentiment.

  Goodbye, Piccadilly,

Farewell, Leicester Square:

It's a long, long way to Tipperary,

But my heart's right there.

       Tipperary Days

1   Rosen G. Nostalgia: a forgotten psychological disorder. Psychol Med 1975:5340.

2   Hamilton R. History of a remarkable case of nostalgia affecting a native of Wales and occurring in Britain. Medical Commentaries, for the year 1786 Edinburgh 1787;1:343-8.

3   Freeman DS. South to prosperity; an introduction to the writing of Confederate history . New York: Schribner's, 1939:4.

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Death by Nostalgia, 1688

Before its association with a pining for the toys or tv shows of yesteryear, nostalgia was deemed a dangerous psychiatric disorder..

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ABOVE: This 1832 lithograph, “Le mal du pays,” or “the disease of one’s country,” depicts a nurse attending to a resting patient who is being treated for nostalgia. US National Library of Medicine

L ate in the 17th century, a medical student in Switzerland named Johannes Hofer noticed that people living far from home, such as soldiers or those sent abroad in domestic service, sometimes experienced a psychological burden so great that they actually died as a result. In his 1688 dissertation , Hofer named the phenomenon “nostalgia,” using the Greek roots nostos , which means returning to a native area, and algos , a term for pain or grief. 

medical dissertation on nostalgia by johannes hofer

Doctors initially approached nostalgia by “thinking about it as a disease,” says Clay Routledge, a psychology professor at North Dakota State University and the author of Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource . Deaths related to the condition were often caused by suicide or by self-neglect. A dampened immune system brought on by depression, for example, sometimes left people more susceptible to fatal illnesses.

Hofer proposed that nostalgia was “sympathetic of an afflicted imagination,” caused by “continuous vibration of animal spirits” through certain parts of the brain, and that it “admits no remedy other than a return to the homeland.” He wrote about a girl who fell from a great height while living far away from her home. Initially on the mend, she began refusing to eat or take medicine and would say nothing beyond her desire to go home. She returned to her parents emaciated, weak, and near death. Mere days later, however, she was “wholly well.” 

medical dissertation on nostalgia by johannes hofer

In addition to sending patients home, doctors thrust myriad other purported therapies upon these heartsick people. When a Russian commander noticed his troops suffering from nostalgia in 1733, for example, he buried a soldier alive as a warning to others, while during the French Revolution, physician Jourdan Le Cointe prescribed “pain and terror” as a cure for nostalgia, which the French called le maladie du pays , or a disease of one’s country. Throughout the American Civil War, soldiers who felt homesick were taunted relentlessly for being weak-minded. Around this same time, diagnoses of nostalgia were dropping, rolled into cases of melancholia, one of the most common justifications for institutionalization during the Victorian Era’s mental asylum boom. 

The concept of nostalgia underwent a renaissance in the early 1900s, however, as the symptoms were found to align with better-studied psychological illnesses such as shell shock (what doctors now call post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety, or schizophrenia. Over time, the word evolved into its current meaning: a fondness for objects or experiences of the past, with or without debilitating pangs of sadness.

In fact, Routledge’s recent research into the function of nostalgia has revealed that, contrary to Hofer’s observations, it’s a largely positive phenomenon. Nostalgic feelings often increase in periods of instability or loneliness after a big life change, he says, but rather than dragging a person’s mood down, looking backward can help them regroup. “For most people, nostalgia helps them live in the present and motivates future-oriented action,” Routledge explains. “After people engage in nostalgia, they report feeling more inspired, and they actually want to spend more time with other people. It actually kind of energizes them.” 

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Pandemic Nostalgia

medical dissertation on nostalgia by johannes hofer

What we can learn from a seventeenth-century medical dissertation

By Dominic Boyer

T he invisible virus devouring the routines and comforts of everyday life has an emotional companion: mourning for all that has been lost.

Tales of grief are circulating everywhere. Some are specific and focused, little yearnings for simple things. Some express giant feelings, the incalculable losses of loved ones and careers. But then there is also the more peregrine mode of grief, of having so many patterns of life swept away at once that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what one is mourning. Certain qualities of loss resist words.

But the feelings recur. Like an avalanche, some memory surges out of the past and overwhelms. My best friend’s daughter will just begin to sob, not about anything in particular. My mother, long a self-proclaimed homebody, says she should be fine being shut in. But now she can’t stop thinking about going outside. By now, we’ve all been there. The past is always present in these strange days not least because the future seems so distant.

There is a name for this kind of longing— nostalgia . And before the poets and philosophers took charge of the concept, nostalgia was a diagnosed medical condition, itself a serious public health concern for more than two centuries. I want to return to where nostalgia began, because the original diagnosis of the disease offers important insights about what the world is going through now and perhaps even offers some comfort as we seek to pry a future from the jaws of pandemic.

N ostalgia came into the world at the University of Basel in 1688. Johannes Hofer was a medical student working on a dissertation. He was not even twenty years old, an ethnic German from the Alsatian town of Mulhouse, about 35 kilometers northwest of Basel. He called his project a “Medical Dissertation on Nostalgia, or, Homesickness.”

Hofer apologizes for burdening the reader with this curious new term, “nostalgia,” given that Heimweh (homesickness) is already so widely known. But he feels that Heimweh lacks medical specificity. Moreover, it scarcely conveys the seriousness of some of the fatal and near-fatal cases of homesickness that have come to his attention. Hofer explains:

Nor in truth, deliberating on a name, did a more suitable one occur to me, defining the thing to be explained, more concisely than the word Nostalgias , Greek in origin and indeed composed of two sounds, the one of which is Nostos , return to the native land; the other Algos , signifies suffering or grief; so that thus far it is possible from the force of the sound Nostalgia to define the sad mood originating from the desire to return to one’s native land.

Besides neologism, there are some other peculiarities to Hofer’s dissertation. He seems a bit preoccupied with refuting the Swiss claim that homesickness is their own national affliction, proof of some special dearness of their native land. And the physiological details are sketchy. Hofer characterizes nostalgia as an “afflicted imagination” caused when the “fibers of the middle brain” have been disturbed by the “quite continuous vibration of animal spirits.” Still, his diagnostics of nostalgia are truly fascinating.

Two case studies flesh out the specificities of the condition. The first case concerns a young student “of excellent nature” from Bern who had spent much of his youth in Basel for the sake of his studies. At first he was beset by sadness, a longing for a return to the city of his birth. Out of the sadness developed a constant fever fed by “desires of the heart.” Worse symptoms arrived daily and those who lived with him suspected death’s approach. A doctor was called in to administer a variety of medicines by enema but none appeared to help. The patient was clearly weak, half dead even, at which point it was decided that he would have to be returned to his family in Bern. No sooner was this plan settled than the tranquility of the young man’s mind improved. And just a few miles away from Basel his symptoms began to abate, improving so quickly that the young man was “his whole sane self” by the time he reached Bern.

The second case is a country girl working as a servant in a foreign town. In the course of her labors she fell, hit her head, and was so seriously hurt that she lost consciousness and had to be taken to a hospital for several days. As she regained awareness she discovered herself stranded among caregivers who were “wrangling and querulous old women.” Homesickness set in. The feeling gripped her so deeply that she refused both food and medication, wailing only “ Ich will Heim !” (“I want to go home!”) until her parents were finally convinced to allow her to return home. Once reunited with her family, Hofer testifies, “within a few days she got wholly well, entirely without the aid of medicine.”

This yearning for the return home is the essence of nostalgia. Yet Hofer remarks that he is actually flexible as to what the disease should be called. He offers two alternative neologisms: nostomania and philopatridomania . The blurring of algos and mania, grief and obsession, is telling. In many ways, it is easy to read into Hofer’s thesis a premonition of later research on psychopathology. For example, in Freud’s theory of neurosis, a traumatic memory or pathological idea often becomes a gathering point for psychic energy in ways that generate all manner of seemingly unrelated psychic maladies and physiological symptoms.

Yet nostalgia isn’t a universal psychic condition according to Hofer. He is certain that some people are more susceptible than others. For example, young people and adolescents who have been sent for extended stays in “foreign lands with alien customs.”

The young are less equipped to handle the misfortunes and troubles of living abroad, Hofer suspects, and thus are particularly susceptible to becoming fixated on the “charm of the Fatherland.” They often did not choose to go abroad, rather were sent there. Over time, cultural differences grind against them: “foreign manners, diverse kinds of food, make for them injuries to be borne, and various other troublesome accidents, and one might add six hundred other things.”

Those suffering nostalgia typically have already experienced disease or some other misfortune that reminds them of their vulnerability and distance and that eventually feeds an obsessive desire to return home. You know nostalgia is coming on when you encounter people who frequently wander about sad, who scorn foreign manners, who make a show of the delights of their places of origin.

It may seem as though Hofer is just describing routine pathologies of nationalism. And, in a way, he is crafting an image of the psychic health of home contrasted to the constant irritations and unknowns of other places. But one also has to bear in mind that what counted as competing Fatherlands in Hofer’s time could be nothing more than two Swiss towns a few dozen kilometers apart. The idea of “Fatherland” captures the security and familiarity of one’s hometown.

L ittle is known of the young Dr. Hofer’s life. But one gets the sense from his writing that he is intimately familiar with the emotional burden of nostalgia. At 19 years old, living far from his own native town, Hofer would have known personally the precarity of living far from his family. And he wasn’t alone in suspecting that extended travel could create physiological harm. Long before Hofer’s dissertation, the damage of dislocation had been documented by doctors treating soldiers and refugees during the Thirty Years’ War, which had wreaked havoc across Central Europe. War eventually proved to be one of the most reliable vectors of nostalgia. As late as the American Civil War, over five thousand cases of nostalgia were medically documented among soldiers.

The epidemiology of nostalgia is a commentary on the pain of social dislocation. Hofer is obsessed with dislocations of place; others, for example the philosopher Immanuel Kant, were convinced that nostalgia is grieving for time, especially one’s youth. Reading between the lines of Hofer’s thesis one gets the sense from the case studies that the afflicted are suffering the loss of comfort, familiarity and above all closeness to relations who care for them. If nostalgia was about “returning home,” it was about returning to the metaphorical home of care and comfort.

All these kinds of loss speak to our present grieving. Shut in at home—or forced to work in fear—we mourn comforts we can no longer assume, routines we can no longer reenact. Everyone is missing someone they want to hug without shame. Many joyful forms of sociality have become taboo and the kinds of virtual interaction that remain often leave us feeling dissatisfied, even exhausted. Under these circumstances who can blame us for yearning for the past?

I want to end on a positive note and with a modest suggestion for self-care in these trying times. Remarkably enough, Hofer stumbled on to a cure for nostalgia without appearing to realize it. Throughout the text he continually asserts that the only treatment for the afflicted is to actually, physically return to their place of origin. Obviously, return to the pre-pandemic world is not a luxury currently available to us.

But listen to the story with which Hofer ends his dissertation:

Thus not long since it was told me by a Parisian that he himself had a Helvetian bound servant who was sad and melancholy at all times so that he began to work with lessened desire; finally, he came to him and sought dismissal with insistent entreaties, of which he could have no hope beyond him.  When the merchant granted this immediately, the servant changed from sudden joy, excused from his mind these phantasma for several days, and after a while remained in Paris, broken up no longer by this disease.

What Hofer drops as a kind of afterthought actually contains the key to reimagining the entire diagnosis. The freed Helvetian longed not for a return to his place of origin—even though this is what both he and his master were convinced afflicted him—he longed instead for the right to determine his own future. Having won that right, he surprised all parties, including doubtless the young Dr. Hofer, by remaining happily where he was.

T here is a lesson here for coping with pandemic nostalgia. We feel trapped in the present and have convinced ourselves that we are yearning to return to the pre-pandemic lives we knew. But maybe what would actually make us feel better is claiming the right to make a better future.

An obsession with returning to the past conveniently disregards that our pre-COVID lifeworld was also deeply troubled, verging on catastrophe even. My day job is studying the social impact of climate change. The world that the pandemic interrupted was on an ecocidal trajectory that we should be in no hurry to restore. That same world was also beset by deep social and economic inequality, by rising extremist movements, by the burden of a literal white “Fatherland” of gender and racial hierarchy, and, as Hofer would say, “six hundred other things.”

We didn’t choose to be here in this pandemic so we have every right to mourn our disempowerment. And that we all need comfort and care right now is indisputable. But I think there will be less melancholy if we can use this time to focus energy and attention on bringing a better future into focus, one that does not fall back into the grooves of the past. As soon as it’s possible to do so, let’s make that better future, and commit to returning to a different world.

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  1. (PDF) Thesis or dissertation: Essentiality for a postgraduate Medical

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COMMENTS

  1. Medical Dissertation on Nostalgia by Johannes Hofer, 1688

    The literature of nostalgia, while not voluminous, is of unusual interest and is largely from the pens of Swiss authors. The thesis herewith presented is generally accepted as the earliest publication on the subject, and it is in this work that the term "nostalgia" is first used. The author, Johannes Hofer, was born in Mühlhausen, April

  2. Medical Dissertation on Nostalgia

    Get Textbooks on Google Play. Rent and save from the world's largest eBookstore. Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone.

  3. Theories of the Pathology of Nostalgia · Nostalgia: The Rise ...

    In his 1688 medical dissertation, Dissertatio Medica de Nostalgia, Johannes Hofer invented the word nostalgia to elucidate mental anguish resulting from a severe form of homesickness.

  4. When Nostalgia Was a Disease

    Swiss physician Johannes Hofer coined the term in his 1688 medical dissertation, from the Greek nostos, or homecoming, and algos, or pain. The disease was similar to paranoia, except the...

  5. Medical dissertation on nostalgia by Johannes Hofer / translated by

    1934 Books About this work Publication/Creation 1934 Physical description pages 376-391 : portrait, illustrations. Series Texts & documents. Texts and documents Bulletin of the institute of the history of medicine. Contributors Höfer, Johannes Anspach, Carolyn Kiser. Languages English Where to find it Vol. 2 1934 Note

  6. Nostalgia: a conceptual history

    The term nostalgia was first proposed in 1688 by Johannes Hofer as equivalent to the German term Heimweh. It referred to a state of moral pain associated with the forced separation from family and social environment.

  7. Nostalgia: a conceptual history

    The term nostalgia was first proposed in 1688 by Johannes Hofer as equivalent to the German term Heimweh. It referred to a state of moral pain associated with the forced separation from...

  8. Medical Dissertation on Nostalgia by Johannes

    Preview Available Scholarly Journal Medical Dissertation on Nostalgia by Johannes Hofer, 1688. (Book Review) ANSPACH, CAROLYN KISER. Bulletin of the Institute of the History of Medicine; Baltimore, Md. Vol. 2, (Jan 1, 1934): 376. Copy Link CiteAll Options This is a limited preview of the full PDF

  9. PDF Coming Home Again: Johannes Hofer, Edmund Spenser, and Premodern Nostalgia

    The Swiss medical student Johannes Hofer's Dissertatio Medica de Nostalgia, oder Heimweh was printed in 1688. It describes a curious disorder, often found in young ... 2 For a translation, see Johannes Hofer, 'Medical Dissertation on Nostalgia by Johannes Hofer, 1688', trans. Carolyn Kiser Anspach, Bulletin of the Institute of the

  10. The Time and Place of Nostalgia

    Nostalgia ("nostalgie") was already a well-established category in French nosographies by the 1790s.9 The condition had first been described in 1688 by a Swiss doctor, Johannes Hofer (1669-1752), who defined nostalgia as a form of pathological, often fatal, home sickness.10 According to Flofer, the disease primarily struck young

  11. Johannes Hofers Dissertation ‚De Nostalgia' Von 1688

    VON 1688 Den Anspruch, das Wort Nostalgie geprägt zu haben, erhebt Johannes Hofer, ein junger Mediziner aus Mülhausen im Elsaß (1669—1752), am 22. Juni 1688 seine Dissertatio Medica De ΝΟΣΤΑΛΓΙΑ, Oder Heim wehe ... in Basel vorlegte und verteidigte. Die folgenden Notizen wollen zeigen, in welchem Zusammenhang Wort entstand und bekannt wurde.

  12. Nostalgia

    The American Journal of Psychoanalysis - Hofer, J.: Medical Dissertation on Nostalgia, 1688. Translated by C. K. Anspach.

  13. PDF Nostalgia

    MEDICAL HISTORY The term "nostalgia" was first used by Johannes Hofer 1 in 1688 in a thesis pre- sented to Johannes Harder, doctor of Phi- losophy and Medicine and professor of Anatomy and Botany at the University in Alsace. Its derivation from the Greek nostos, a return home, and algos, meaning

  14. [PDF] Nostalgia: a conceptual history

    The term nostalgia was first proposed in 1688 by Johannes Hofer as equivalent to the German term Heimweh and in 1909 Jaspers devoted his doctoral thesis to this topic (Nostalgia und Verbrechen). View on SAGE nostalgiaashistory.com Save to Library Create Alert Cite 21 Citations Citation Type More Filters

  15. Education as a cure for nostalgia

    Swiss physician Johannes Hofer coined the term 'nostalgia' in his 1688 medical dissertation from the Greek 'nostos', or homecoming, and 'algos', or pain.1 This time of year, with its cascades of vibrantly coloured leaves, is also the start of the academic calendar. Even with the challenges that beset primary health care, autumn brings the promise of a winter renewal, not least ...

  16. PDF Distress prospectively predicts higher nostalgia, and nostalgia

    When Johannes Hofer submitted his dissertation to University of Basel's Medical School in 1688, he painted a bleak picture of nostalgia—a term he coined from

  17. Nostalgia, homesickness and emotional formation on the eighteenth

    1. Johannes Hofer, Carolyn Kiser Anspach (trans.), 'Medical Dissertation on Nostalgia by Johannes Hofer, 1688', Bulletin of the Institute of the History of Medicine, 2 (1934), 382-83.

  18. Nostalgia

    First coined in 1678 by Johannes Hofer of Basel, the word nostalgia was derived from nostos (return to one's native land) ... The first case in English medical literature was recorded in 1787 by a Dr Robert Hamilton, a regimental medical officer stationed at Tinmouth in the north of England.2 The diagnosis of nostalgia and the resultant plea to ...

  19. PDF Education as a cure for nostalgia

    Swiss physician Johannes Hofer coined the term 'nostalgia' in his 1688 medical dissertation from the Greek 'nostos', or homecoming, and 'algos', or pain.1 This time of year, with its cascades of vibrantly coloured leaves, is also the start of the academic calendar.

  20. Nostalgia across cultures © The Author(s) 2022 Volume 16: 1

    Hofer (1688/1934), published his dissertation on nostalgia. The term was coined by Hofer (1688/1934). It consists of two Greek words: nostos,returntoone's native land, and algos, pain or suffering. So, nostalgia is the pain that one experiences by their desire to return home. Based on a few interviews with Swiss mercenaries in the French army ...

  21. Death by Nostalgia, 1688

    AFFLICTED IMAGINATION: Johannes Hofer published his 1688 dissertation on the phenomenon of nostalgia, which he classified as a medical condition caused by the "continuous vibration of animal spirits" in the brains of patients.

  22. Nostalgia

    The term was coined in 1688 by Johannes Hofer (1669-1752) in his dissertation in Basel. The word nostalgia was compound of the ancient Greek words nostos (return home) and algia (longing). ... Hofer, Johannes, "Medical Dissertation on Nostalgia." Bulletin of the Institute of the History of Medicine. Trans. Carolyn Kiser Anspach 2.6 ((1688 ...

  23. Pandemic Nostalgia

    Johannes Hofer was a medical student working on a dissertation. He was not even twenty years old, an ethnic German from the Alsatian town of Mulhouse, about 35 kilometers northwest of Basel. He called his project a "Medical Dissertation on Nostalgia, or, Homesickness."